Category Archives: Landscape

Gauksmýri – bird watching

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Gauksmýri is in the western part of North Iceland, in the county Húnavatnssýsla. Near the farm, by the same name, is a birdwatching location where wetland has been restored. The birdlife there is colourful and diverse.

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On your way North it is ideal to visit the bird watching house by the pond. There you will find some binoculars and birding guidebooks. 35 different bird species have been spotted there, e.g. swans, ducks, geese, horned grebes to name a few.

Selfoss from high up

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River Ölfusá with the bridge and the church in the foreground

Selfoss is the biggest town in the south of Iceland about 50 km southeast of the capital Reykjavík. It is in the vicinity of some of the most popular scenic attractions such as Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss.

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A view from the east with the stables and riding grounds in foreground

It is also the civic center for the region with a hospital, swimming pool, banks, supermarkets, library, high school e.t.c. The number of inhabitants is around 7 thousand.

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View to the north with the Southern Highlands in the background

The pictures are from last weekend when a friend took me for a spin.

Fireweed autumn colours

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Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) in an island in Rivr Ölfusá and Mt Hekla in the background

Autumn colours catch the eye everywhere at this time of year. Red, orange and yellow in adundance.  The bright red here is the autumn colour of the Rosebay Willowherb, more commonly referred to as Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium). This beautiful plant is used both for food and medicine. Fireweed builds a thriving plant community by spreading its tiny seeds and with lateral root networks.  In an island in River Ölfusá this is the case and the plant is overrunning other vegetation.

Dettifoss – Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

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Dettifoss seen from the east bank

Dettifoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, it is also the most powerful one, not only in Iceland but the whole of Europe. Being the location of the breathtaking opening scene of the movie Prometheus has not made it any less attractive to tourists.

Seen from the west, down the canyon
Seen from the west, down the canyon

Dettifoss is around 45 metres high and 100 metres wide. It is part of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park.

Dettifoss, west bank
Dettifoss, west bank

Birdwatching platform at Skoruvíkurbjarg

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Platform with a view to the Gannet colony at Stóri-Karl

Langanes peninsula is the northeasternmost part of Iceland and a treat for birdwatchers. It is one of the most remote places and there is only a dirt road so you should not be in a hurry.  The road leads you to the narrow tip called Fontur where you have the North Atlantic surrounding you in several directions.

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In Skoruvíkurbjarg and Skálavíkurbjarg are steep sea cliffs. The area is known for its rich birdlife and at Skoruvíkurbjarg is the second biggest Gannet colony in Iceland.

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Trying to overcome her fear of heights

There is a very good birdwatching platform at Skoruvíkurbjarg where it is possible to see the Gannet, the Brünnich’s Guillemot, the Kittiwake and more at close hand. From the platform you have a view down to Stóri-Karl, a sea rock, which is home to the magnificent Gannet.

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Most active volcano

Iceland’s most active volcano, Hekla, is said to be ready to erupt any time. The pressure inside this famous South Iceland volcano is greater than before the last two eruptions. So we should be on our toes.

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Mount Hekla

Since 1970, when Hekla last erupted, the interval between eruptions has been more less or less ten years. According to scientists Hekla has built up a great deal of magma in recent years. Although the last few eruptions in Hekla have not been big and not involved serious danger one never knows what exactly to expect. The lead up to an eruption in Hekla can be very short and that is a concern.

Hekla is a popular attraction and groups often hike in the mountain. There is some worry  that this could be dangerous in view of the short notice of eruption and people are warned not to be on the mountain. Airplanes flying over could also be in danger if scientist are not taken seriously.